The Digitisation of Chaucer

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Keynote lecture for the conference From glass case to cyber-space: Chaucerian manuscripts across time/ Syrffior silff: hynt a helynt llawysgrifau Chaucer at the National Library of Wales / Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, 14-16 April 2014


<ul><li>1.1 </li></ul> <p>2. 2 Petition by Adam Pinkhurst rel. to his lands in Surrey and Sussex, c. 1400: The National Archives, SC8/134/6633 3. 3 4. 4 5. 5 6. 6 7. 8 William Schipper, 'Dry-Point Compilation Notes in the Benedictional of St thelwold', British Library Journal, 20 (1994), 17-34 8. The dry point note In illustrated by Schipper is not readily visible in this vanilla digitisation of f. 27v of the Benedictional of St thelwold. Ideally we need a series of images exploring different aspects of this folio. 9. A.S.G. Edwards, Back to the Real, Times Literary Supplement, 7 June 2013 Digital surrogates more expensive version of microfilm Make it difficult to assess material characteristics Discourage engagement with originals and provide excuse for libraries to restrict access Expensive activity which diverts resources from more pressing priorities such as training in palaeography and conservation of originals 10. A.S.G. Edwards, Back to the Real, Times Literary Supplement, 7 June 2013 Is it worth it? Do the ends justify the unquantifiable cost of the means? Digitization appears to be proceeding unchecked and unfocused, deflecting students into a virtual world and leaving them unequipped to deal responsibly with real rare materials. I suspect that the combination of poorly prepared students and reductions in library staffing levels will make real manuscripts ever more difficult to access directly. 11. Edwards: The Codex Sinaiticus is an interesting test case for apologists of digitization. Last year I was told that the Codex Sinaiticus site got about 10,000 hits a month. That might seem a strong justification for digitization. But it seems doubtful whether even a small fraction of that number have the appropriate training codicological, linguistic and textual to approach the work in an informed way. If my audience analysis is even broadly correct, the British Library is investing heavily not in scholarship, but in a new branch of the entertainment industry. 12. Lost leaves from Codex Sinaiticus found in St Catherines Monastery in Egypt in 1976 13. Text of Mark 1:1 in the British Library portion of the Codex Sinaiticus under standard light, showing corrections including insertion of the phrase Son of God. 14. The same section of Mark 1:1 under raking light, with transcription and translation 15. Imaging of the Beowulf manuscript using fibre optic backlighting to reveal letters and words concealed by nineteenth-century conservation work: 16. Two sets of transcripts made for the Danish antiquary Thorkelin, now in the Royal Library Copenhagen, compared with the original manuscript 17. 19 18. 21 19. 22 20. 23 Micro CT scan of the internal structure of a papyrus roll burnt at Herculaneum. The imaging was undertaken as part of a project directed by Professor Brent Seales, University of Kentucky 21. Kathryn Rudy, ' Dirty books : Quantifying patterns of use in medieval manuscripts using a densitometer ' Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art , vol 2 (2010) , no. 1-2 , pp. 1- 26 22. Using the Diamond Light Source to Recover Palimpsest Text </p>